the whistling cyclist
pic Mike Urban
I’m a Brixton, South London based mobile bike mechanic with over thirty years experience. I offer the following services:
Do you need a quick bike MOT or a full strip and rebuild? A flat tyre on your bike, scooter or pram I can help.
My Adult Education Training helps deliver cycle maintenance sessions. Learn to repair your bike.
A fully qualified cycle instructor I can teach a novice of any age to quickly master balancing and riding. I can accompany you on your first cycle to work, helping you learn the skills necessary to navigate complex road layouts.
Pricing and call out cost
Hassle free kerbside repairs and service's. Home, office or on route, call, WhatsApp or email. No call out fee for local (SW2, SW9), £10 increments for further afield.
I don't want to confuse with a long bewildering list of prices. I aim to be super competitive. Call out charges will depend on distance. Let me know your postcode and I'll let you know. All of London covered. I can recommend other mechanics local to you if required.
Estimating Your Repair
Please email, text or call. One size does not fit all. Let's discuss what you need. A photo of your bike always helps. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty try these few checks before you contact me:
1. Tyres, worn or flat?
2. Wheels spin straight with no side to side wobble?
3. Brakes, functioning, easy to pull?
4. Chain, can you pull away from the front big chainring and see a gap between the chain and chainring?
5. Is the bike filthy and caked in old oil? Rusty?
An accurate estimate is only really possible on arrival. If you knew exactly what your bike needs you probably don't need a mechanic. It's not your job to speak bikeeese! Here as a guide:
• Kids bike service - £45
• Adult bike service - £75
• Senior service - £125
Rest assured I will explain what I believe your bike requires in plain English and only what it needs. There may be options and I'll always look at a repair from your perspective. Good reviews and positive feedback are my ambition.
Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme
There is a government backed scheme to help you pay for repairs: details here.
Bicycle repair tuition
My favourite job is to pass on the skills, tricks and joy of repairing your bike. Individuals or small groups, in your garden or by the road. Workshop space in Battersea and Kennington available on request. We can arrange a bespoke curriculum concentrating on your needs.
I can train your kids to fix your puncture or you to replace gear and brake cables.
What would you like to learn?
Bespoke classes for individuals, groups, adults or children
Cooperative service, you learn as I guide you to service your bike
Senior Cooperative service. You strip and rebuild your bike with my guidance
adult/child cycling skills
It's never too early or late to learn to ride.
Learn commuter skills to own your space on the road. Politely communicate your intent and priority where applicable. Understand your rights and responsibilities.
Some boroughs provide a limited number of free cycle skill lessons.
Check here: cycleconfident.com
I can provide, or top up, cycle skill lessons. Riding in London is perceived as a risky business. The stats tell a different story. Your more likely to suffer an accident walking! 50% of head injuries occur in a car! Cycle safety is dependent on the riders knowledge and hazard perception. Paranoid cyclists are as at much risk as dozy ones. Dozy cyclists are at risk. Navigating complex junctions is like following a recipe. Let me share the ingredients you'll need.
I preach manners and solidarity on the road. Know a little about drivers, especially professional drivers and you'll have a greater understanding of their thinking and processes. They'll be happy with you. You'll get to work smiling.
"Bikes are great but the people who use them are fascinating. How you use your bike tells me what it needs."
I contacted Barnaby during lockdown to give my bike a much needed MOT. He was very quick to book me in and travelled to my home where he set up on the street meaning I could continue to work from home and had no waiting around. He was knowledgable and even talked me through some functional things to help me have a smoother ride. He worked his magic on my bike, and when I rode it the next day I was so much quicker than usual! Barnaby was super friendly, the service he provided was very convenient and he was reasonably priced compared to other local bike repair shops. I'll definitely be going to back to him!
Thanks for looking into this for me pre arrival and saving all of us time. Great customer service. Will defiantly be using you guys again!
“Barnaby has been serving up perfectly calibrated and costed bike maintenance and advice to the people of south London for what seems like forever. Friendly, un-intimidating and thorough, he’ll see you right and won’t rip you off. He’s a good man and you are safe in his hands. Unreservedly recommended.”
- Ian, SW2
Barny has been my go to bike repair guy for years and always turns up with a smile and a can do attitude. He has serviced and repaired my whole family's bikes, he orders parts and improvises with ingenuity when parts are not available. Needless to say he always does a great job at a reasonable price.
- Pauline. SW2
I come from a cycling family
Mum rode a Raliegh 20 shopper and heaven forbid you borrowed her wonder lights or Dad's nightriders without asking! Dad rode his Evans 531 tourer to the office every day. A speed merchant, he'd brag about hitting green lights all the way from Wandsworth Common to Oxford Street. I was gifted a Raleigh Chopper by 8 after suffering a series of hand-me-downs from older siblings It was from Hurley's in Tooting, electric blue, it blew my mind. So as a transgressive teenager I went to motorcycle then classic car as soon as I could. It was only as a hippie squatting a farm in mid Wales that I really found cycling. Auntie Hilda left me £300 in her will (a fortune in the early 80s). I bought one of those new fangled mountain bikes. This had no suspension, no indexed gears, temperamental brakes but lots of weight. It was my road to Damascus. As soon as I planted it's front wheel on a forestry track I'd found my calling. Moving back to London I picked up the Yellow Pages (ask your granny) and looked for a job in a bike shop. I got as far as B!
I started out at Brixton Cycles then on Coldharbour Lane in the mid 80's. Only knowing a love of bikes and very little of how to fix them. I learnt on the job, acquiring official qualifications (Cytech level 2) down the road. In those days bike repair would involve the judicious use of a hammer as much as a spanner. Bikes are evolving. Today I employ a laptop and a torque wrench far more often than brute force.
I added to my skills by training as a cycle instructor, working in schools teaching Bikeability, the modern take on the cycle proficiency test. I must have taught over 7000 school kids to either ride a bike and/ or ride a bike in traffic. Back to class I took an adult education course. AET. This has helped me develop an inclusive, fun, bike maintenance class. It also gave me better skills in delivering Safer Urban Driver courses, these are for HGV drivers to feel the joy and also the vulnerability of urban cycling.
The basic tenet of my philosophy is... get a bike and get over it. There's two tales here. Firstly, cycling has won the argument on how we should travel in towns and cities.
It's integral to promoting health especially of children. Check out how it significantly reduces the risks of all the scary diseases we worry about. If cycling were a pill you probably couldn't afford a box of them. Environment? A vegan on a push bike could fly round the globe twice a year guilt free. After diet your chosen method of locomotion has the biggest impact on the environment. City planning? Look out of your window. If it has not already it's going to change dramatically. In not so many years London will be on a cycle path to a healthy and sustainable future. The second tale? Get over it! We didn't invent the wheel. Let's show some love and humility as we pedal respectfully in our town. Cyclings history is rich with how it fermented social change its future guaranteed to be the same.
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